Now Bianca Jagger joins campaign to save local forest from the oil drill
Bianca Jagger has stepped into the Woodburn Forest oil drilling row, calling for an explanation from the company behind plans for an exploratory borehole.
The international human rights advocate and former wife of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger is the latest celebrity to speak out on controversial plans by InfraStrata to carry out exploratory oil and gas drilling close to the reservoir that supplies drinking water to hundreds of homes in Co Antrim.
Earlier this week InfraStrata issued a statement saying it would not be carrying out fracking at Woodburn Forest, and the oil well was not within the catchment area of the North Woodburn reservoir.
However, Ms Jagger drew attention to a briefing to the Department for Regional Development on August 8, 2014 by NI Water, which has leased the land to InfraStrata.
It said InfraStrata had confirmed the proposed drilling site lies within the North Woodburn catchment and the reservoir collects run-off from the catchment via feeder rivers and streams.
"I am calling on InfraStrata to explain their recent statement," Ms Jagger tweeted.
Earlier this week InfraStrata said it wanted to correct any misunderstanding of what the drilling entailed and had placed two fact sheets on its website, one covering use of chemicals in drilling the well and the other covering protection of public water supplies.
"The Woodburn Forest exploration drilling poses no threat to local drinking water supplies. The wellsite is not within the catchment area of the North Woodburn reservoir," the company said.
"The protection of water quality in the area of the proposed site is of paramount importance in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive."
Responding to Ms Jagger's comments, InfraStrata told the Belfast Telegraph last night: "The wellsite is in the North Woodburn River catchment. It is not within the specific catchment area for the North Woodburn reservoir - surface water does not drain into any channels which lead to the North Woodburn reservoir."
Ms Jagger is the latest big name to back protesters and local residents. The campaign has also been backed by Spotlight star Mark Ruffalo and British Superbike ace Glenn Irwin, whose family lives near the forest. Campaigners have set up a permanent protest site at Woodburn Forest.
Workers employed by InfraStrata moved on site in the last couple of weeks to fell trees in preparation for drilling, although a waste management plan for the work has not yet been approved.
Stop The Drill is calling for people to attend the Braid in Ballymena from 6.30pm this Monday for the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council monthly meeting.